Elias Antonio Saga, convicted of illegal enrichment, has released a list of former officials who received bonuses in his cabinet. Prosecutors believe the practice could even be framed as “bribery” depending on the terms of the payment.
As announced last week, during the first session of the special commission of the legislature investigating bonuses paid to officials, ex-officers and legal or natural persons, former President Elias Antonio Saga, who was convicted of offenses related to illegal enrichment, arrived this Wednesday to appear before the delegates.
The former president admitted to giving money to officials outside the executive and other political parties.
Former President Saga said the ministers, deputy ministers and senior government officials he managed received a $ 10,000 bonus in addition to their monthly salary. He also said that it was handed over by the Supreme Court judges as “institutional support”.
Former officers who received bonuses, according to Saga
Saga noted that he received “bonuses” of up to $ 10,000 a month among former officers, including former Republican vice president Ana Wilma de Escobar, who worked in the Saga administration.
In addition to the former vice president, Saga quoted former agriculture and livestock minister Mario Salaverria; Former Foreign Minister Marisol Arguetta de Barillas; Former Economy Minister Yolanda de Cavidia; Former Minister of Education Darlene Siomara Mesa.
To former Environment Minister Hugo Pereira; Former Tourism Minister Louis Cardinal; Former Public Works Minister David Gutierrez; George Nieto, who was in the same position; Former President of the Republic Francisco Losnes; Former Secretary of Defense and Minister of the Interior Rene Fikurova; Luis Mario Rodriguez, former legal secretary to the president; And Presidential Commissioners and Deputy Ministers for Governance.
Guillermo Belarmino Lopez Suarez, with the exception of former finance minister and former deputy minister of the branch, William Jacobo Hondol; Eduardo Arturo Ayala Grimaldi, former Deputy Minister of Economy; Jose Luis Guzman Martell, former Minister of Education; Jose Roberto Espinal Escobar, former Minister of Labor; Gerardo Zuvilaca, former managing director of the National Registration Center (CNR); Jose Ruben Alfonso Roche, former Minister of Tourism.
He also mentioned former Deputy Secretary of Defense Aster Escalante; And former Deputy Minister of Education George Alberto Munos.
“They were a bonus other than the salary they received on the payroll, which means some people received $ 600,000 over a period of time (over 5 years),” Saga said.
He also noted that “institutional support” was given to the secretaries of the PCN political parties, Ciro Cruz Sepeda; And PTC, to Rodolfo Parker.
As for the money allegedly given to the media, he explained that they were given as suppliers to provide their services, which was not a “bonus”. “It bought ads from those media,” Saga said.
However, when asked by representatives of the new think tanks, Saga said some former lawyers or judges of the Constitutional Chamber received bonus funds.
In connection with this case, he pointed out that he had gone to some magistrates of the Constitution Room and former lawyers Belisario Artica and Felix Garrid Safi.
Among the current delegates, Rodrigo Avila of the Arena also received a bonus when he served as Director of Police, as well as Deputy Margarita Escobar, from the Arena, who received the bonus when he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations.
Andres Rovira, former chairman of FISDL, also received the bonus during Saga’s tenure, the former president said. Rovira, founder of the Ghana Party.
He also mentioned Salvador Samoa, Sandra de Barrazza and Roberto Rubio, who were paid as part of their work at the National Development Authority.
Saga also mentions journalists such as Narciso Castillo, Alvaro Cruz Rojas and Lofit Fernandez. About them, former communications secretary Julio Rank said Sakka promised to give him money from the allocated expenses.
In addition, George Hernandez was paid $ 10,000 a month for the entire saga of the secret game.
The former president said he did not remember they gave him money from the costs allocated to the accounting court.
According to Saga, he received threats for information he could disclose, at which point there was pressure on former attorney Douglas Melandes not to disclose the real “recipients” of the bonus, for which he faced an “unfair” judicial process, he said.
From bonuses to bribes
Regarding reports that former President Saga during his tenure provided “institutional reinforcement” to other officials such as the former attorney general and magistrate, two lawyers argue that the practice is no longer considered a bonus, which can be structured as “bribery” depending on the terms of the payment.
Eduardo Escobar, a lawyer, felt it was necessary to investigate how former President Saga gave that money to former officials because subordinate officials could lead to it being framed as a crime.
“Depending on the reason for the payment, it is necessary to investigate. One may think that it was done (the lawyer) should not prosecute a case or prosecute anyone who is interested (the President). Bribery,” he thought of Escobar.
He added: “The bonus is that the officer pays a surplus of a deputy’s salary. But in the case of lawyers and magistrates, obedience is not a relationship, but rather an equal relationship. This can be considered a bribe, ”said Citizen Action Director.
Another lawyer, who wanted to avoid his name, expressed himself in similar terms, but although he said it would no longer be a bonus if the money was certainly given to officials outside the administrator, he felt it was necessary to look down on the legitimacy with which those “institutional reinforcements” were given to determine their opinion Number.
Saka’s request to temporarily leave the cell he holds at the “La Esperanza” penitentiary and attend the commission was made by a letter sent by its secretary of state, Ra காl Castillo, on July 16 to the second judge of the prison, who oversees the execution and execution of San Salvador, and then authorizes his departure to the legislature.
In addition to former President Saga, who ruled the country between 2004 and 2009, the commission has also called on its former private secretary, Elmer Charles, to address the commission’s representatives’ concerns.
Antonio Saga was sentenced in September 2018 to 10 years in prison, when his involvement in diverting $ 1,301 million from public funds was proven by an illegal enrichment system involving his radio companies.
Previously, the commission also received former President Alfredo Christiani (1989-1994), who limited himself to most of his responses to the statement that “everything he received or recognized was legal and subject to the law.”
In addition to Christiani, the commission also received his former private secretary, Arturo Dona, to answer questions about the bonus allegedly given to him by that government.